Monday, November 21, 2011

Exciting Captures on Mariepskop

When most people think of South Africa, they think lions, rhinos, elephants and other charismatic mega fauna.  This past week during the Mariepskop mountain phase, however, the volunteers got to focus on the smaller creatures as well.  And what a successful week it was! Not only did we catch small mammals such as Brants climbing mice, Four-striped grass mice, and one Woodland mouse but we also had an extremely high success rate of amphibian captures.  In only two afternoons of active frogging we caught 9 individuals of 3 different species.  We were all very happy to have caught the Clicking stream frog, Strongylopusgrayii, and the Common river frog, Amietiaangolensis, however the most exciting news was the capture of two Natal cascade frogs, Hadromophrynenatalensis.  Endemic to a small part of South Africa it also has a small habitat range, only able to survive in clear, cold, swiftly flowing, densely vegetated streams.  And though not Red Listed as endangered yet, the Natal cascade frog numbers are rapidly dropping due to introduced trout as well as habitat destruction.  All in all, it’s great news to know Mariepskop is harboring some rare and beautiful species.

Kaggie Orrick,
Mountain Phase Manager